The Business Litigation Committee focuses on issues facing litigators with broad commercial practices, including substantive areas such as trade secret law, and procedural matters such as discovery, e-discovery, privilege, ADR and international litigation. The committee publishes eBulletins addressing hot topic themes relevant to commercial and business litigation with articles drafted by committee members and guest authors.
The Business Litigation Committee recently published an eBulletin from member and former chair, Peter Isola, regarding two California Supreme Court decisions involving expert witnesses and hearsay testimony. Consistent with both its decision in People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 and last year’s decision in People v. Mendez (2019) 7 Cal. 5th 680, the Supreme Court ruled that a general explanation by the expert of his or her educational hearsay is admissible, but the expert may not republish the educational hearsay. An expert republishes educational hearsay when, after referring to the fact that she read a lab report, she testifies as to the exact content of the report. If an expert has acquired independent knowledge of a case-specific fact, then she may testify that, in forming her opinion, she relied on the case-specific fact and then add that she also reviewed a lab report. On the other hand, if the expert has not acquired independent knowledge of a case-specific fact, then she may not tell the jury that she looked at the lab report. At that point, there is no foundation for the expert opinion and the expert’s testimony is inadmissible.
Business Litigation Co-chairs
Jon Pfeiffer, Pfeiffer Law Corp., firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil Wertlieb, Wertlieb Law Corp. email@example.com